In a remote corner of South Sudan—where I was running a medical program with MSF/Doctors Without Borders—I was called to a difficult birth in the middle of the night. When I arrived our doctor and midwife were trying to resuscitate the baby. I quickly realized that they didn’t know how and I intervened. We started giving the baby breaths and he soon started breathing on his own.
This experience affected me deeply. I thought of all the health workers across the world who face the anguish of a newborn not breathing and don’t know how to help. It’s an infrequently needed but life-saving skill—a skill every birth attendant needs to know.
I imagined video zooming in on that relatively simple resuscitation procedure—showing health workers how a limp blue newborn can come alive with breaths. It’s extraordinary to see. I knew if health workers could see that, they would never forget it. It was in that moment that the first seeds of Global Health Media Project were planted.
I imagined video … showing health workers how a limp blue newborn can come alive with breaths…
I knew if they could see that, they would never forget it.
I knew real-life video had the power to teach like no other medium. I also knew there were very few videos addressing the realities faced by health workers in low-resource settings. This was a huge gap.
At first I tried to interest some of the larger global health organizations in producing videos but they weren’t receptive to a new approach at that time. As I would re-visit my experience with the newborn in South Sudan, I knew the world couldn’t wait for the big players to get on board. I had no background in video production but knew this could be the answer to critical training gaps that were being faced by frontline health workers every day.
With limited financial resources, I assembled a small, talented, and dedicated team of people to create life-saving health care teaching videos for the developing world. Our clarity of vision, commitment and sense of urgency propelled us forward over many obstacles from funding to production challenges. But we persevered knowing the impact we could make on the global health community.
From the first video, we learned these tools resonated with the needs of global health organizations and health workers as we received extraordinary testimonials and feedback. Our videos are being shared widely and finding their way into training programs, distance learning courses, apps, and websites—and into the hands of frontline health workers.
As of the beginning of 2021, we have completed 150+ videos in 50 languages (80 including our three animations) that have been watched over 500 million times and used by more than 7,000 organizations worldwide.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the uptake of our videos has surged as digital and distant learning solutions are increasingly relevant and needed. At the same time, technological advances continue to lower the cost and expand the reach of digital resources into the world’s most underserved areas.
Thank you for taking an interest in our work and our mission—to help save lives, one health care teaching video at a time.
Learn more about our story by reading these articles and listening to our podcast.
A Picture of Health, Harvard Public Health Magazine, Spring 2015
Alumna Spotlight, Yale Nursing Matters, Summer 2016